Saturday, November 30, 2019

Every photo was a “bad” photo of me

Years ago, at my heaviest weight, a ski trip with friends motivated me to do something about it.

The vacation was a blast, but I quickly lost my “getaway glow” when I saw the photos from our trip. Looking at the physical proof, I was embarrassed by how much weight I had gained.

Every photo was a “bad” photo of me. I was so depressed that I threw most of them away.

I knew my eating habits were preventing me from losing weight. I wasn’t necessarily eating unhealthy foods; I was just eating too much of everything.

Through trial and error with my macro goals and figuring out what worked best for me, I made true lifestyle changes, which have stuck with me until today.

Nowadays, I’m able to balance my carrots with my cake, thanks to macros.

If you want to find this same balance within your diet consider signing up for my Macro Start-Up Bundle – 15 of my best and most effective nutrition products designed to put you in the driver’s seat with regard to your health.

This bundle is $100 OFF through Tuesday, December 3rd ONLY.

The Macro Start-Up Bundle is on sale for the holiday weekend—grab your spot before it’s too late. I’ve never released a bundle this comprehensive before, and I’m not sure when it’s going to be available again.

This is my biggest sale of the year, and I hope you’ll join me for an amazing 2020, filled with healthy, balanced, and delicious nutrition!

Check out everything included in this ultimate nutrition bundle right here.

Happy to answer any questions – just let me know! 🙂

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24 Days of Togetherness [Days 1 – 4]

Hi, friends! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Ours was really nice – lots of family, fun, and food! 🙂 And… as soon as it was over, we were right into the “official” holiday season with all things Christmas – starting with getting our Christmas tree, of course. I actually think November 29th is definitely the earliest we’ve ever gotten our tree. So much for our December 1st rule!

We shopped at our usual place, and Quinn picked out a beauty of a tree. It was actually one of the first ones he saw!

As always, before we left, we stopped to snap our annual family photo.

Back at home, we continued our “get a Christmas tree” tradition with Lime Leaf (for lunch) and decorating.

Decorating was a lot of fun – even more so now that Quinn is older. We had a great time reminiscing about ornaments and their memories from previous years with him.

After lunch and decorating, we picked out our activities for 24 Days of Togetherness. It officially starts tomorrow, so if you haven’t downloaded and printed your PDF, you can still get it here!

While selecting our activities, we noticed that we had already completed some of our favorite 24 Days of Togetherness activities. Apparently, we were really excited to get a jumpstart on the holidays! So we pulled them out of our tin and decided to OFFICIALLY start picking activities on December 5th.

DAY 1: GET A CHRISTMAS TREE AND DECORATE IT

DAY 2: BUY A N EW CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENT 

Mal and I made ornaments at the Pottery Playce a few weeks ago. Quinn made a lizard named “Lemon.”

DAY 3: BUY A HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOUR PET

We bought Murphy a doggie advent calendar a few weeks ago at Trader Joe’s. I think I might be more excited to start it tomorrow than he is! 😉

DAY 4: VISIT SANTA CLAUS

Our town had a holiday bazaar a couple of weeks ago, so we stopped by to see Santa.

Question of the Day

Are you participating in 24 Days of Togetherness this year? 

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Weekly Link Love — Edition 57

Research of the Week

Eating peanuts before one year of age may protect against peanut allergy.

High levels of de novo lipogenesis-derived fatty acids linked to heart disease.

Oyster farming is environmentally congruent.

Fat cats.

Given ad libitum access to food, dogs prioritize fat and protein over carbs.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 391: Martin Silva: Host Elle Russ chats with Martin Silva, a coach who’s been training and body sculpting since age 13 and today helps people discover their health, fitness, and optimal body composition.

Primal Health Coach Radio, Episode 36: Laura and Erin chat with Niraj Naik about using breathwork to restore and strengthen your default state.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Media, Schmedia

Why are younger Americans dying?

Should obese people hibernate through winter?

Interesting Blog Posts

The case for Epicureanism.

How controlled burns might beat back tick infestations.

Social Notes

This is athleticism.

Why Thanksgiving is the most Primal holiday.

Everything Else

Paleolithic hunters in Mexico lured mammoths into traps.

Ancient foragers in Puerto Rico barbecued clams.

This is athleticism.

A classic video from Kelly Starrett: Conquering the load order error in the deadlift.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Exclusive interview I did: With Dave Asprey. Just order a copy of his book and submit the receipt for access.

They’re just now realizing this?: Prevention of cavities is more effective than treating cavities.

Marathon variety I can get behind: The one where you run one mile every hour.

I’m not surprised: Adhering to indigenous cultural traditions helps indigenous children’s outcomes.

This is a powerful story: 82-year-old female bodybuilder beats up home invader.

Question I’m Asking

Why aren’t you giving up coffee in favor of sunning your perineum?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Nov 23– Nov 29)

Comment of the Week

“It’s absolutely a combination. It takes individual action, but it also takes creating an environment. I hear you on the cookies. For most of my life I couldn’t resist eating sugar. What worked was keeping it out of the house. If it wasn’t there, I couldn’t eat it. Testing my willpower by having it in the house never worked. Changing my environment so that sugar wasn’t easily available is what did the trick.

And that’s what I’m suggesting as the environmental strategy for society at large. Make it more expensive. Make it harder to find. Make it socially unacceptable. It may be that addicted individuals can’t or won’t quit. But there will be fewer new ones to start. We didn’t rely on individual willpower to reduce smoking — and we had 350 years of experience to show that didn’t work — but changing the environment has worked pretty well.”

– The problem is that the people with the (dubious) power to change society from the top down don’t believe in our solutions, Mark E. Field.

BBQ_Sauces_640x80

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Kath’s Favorite Things

Instead of making a gift guide of things I am coveting this Black Friday, I thought I’d make a list of my favorite things, Oprah style! This is a list of things that I love and use on nearly a daily basis OR things that I have and would make a great gift. A bonus section for the kids at the end!

Gifts For Home

Sonos – A Sonos with Alexa speaker (or three) would make a really great dude gift! Thomas really wanted them and I resisted for SO LONG. I said they were too expensive and we didn’t listen to music enough. Well it was a catch 22 because we listen to music a lot more since getting them. We have three total – two downstairs and one upstairs. And we’re adding one for the porch when it’s time. We have the Alexa enabled one, which has been SO nice for our main floor. Yes it’s a little annoying to have to use the Sonos app, but once you have your favorites starred and whatever subscription you have (we have an Apple Music monthly subscription) they work so well.

Winc – aka how I do wine. Love this wine club! It would make a great gift. They have everything from classics to funny bottles to cans of rose and sparkling. Get $22 off with my link!

Yeti MugThis mug is not tippy, dishwasher safe, keeps coffee super warm. Couldn’t live without it! A great gift for a coffee lover.

Alexa plugs – We have five of these plugs in our house and they are SO convenient! All of our main lights are voice controlled so when we walk in a room we can say “Alexa lights on” and they all turn on. Since we don’t have overhead lights in those rooms and have 2-3 lamps, it’s so much better than turning them all on by hand, especially since I have a baby in my arms a lot of the time!

The Candle LabThese candles are awesome and I have one on each floor of my house. Great for gifting, and they have gift cards too. Favorite scents: First Snow, Bamboo, Wasabi.

Dyson – I know I mention this cordless vacuum a few times a year, but it’s always on my favorite things list because I use it so often. The Animal Absolute is by far better than the V6 I used to have. You get what you pay for! I love that it has both hardwood and carpet attachments. I don’t own a regular corded vacuum!

Personal ArtBruna Mebs has done paintings of Mazen, my parents’ house, and Gus. They make such beautiful, personal gifts!

Airpods – Airpods have exceeded expectations. Why did I wait so long to get them? Because I didn’t know how seamlessly they integrate with my Apple products. You can just pull one out to pause or put them in and they magically sync. Everyone who loves Apple should have them! I have this little case to keep them from getting lost.

Gifts To Wear

Colorful Koala LeggingsThese are my new favorite everyday leggings. They are thick and compressiony, yet totally flex for wearing under tunics or dresses. The 7/8 are the perfect length for my legs, and the pocket is the BEST – especially if I’m wearing a top without a pocket.

Lulu Define Zip Pocket JacketThis jacket (and variations of it) are my staple to wear to the gym. The zip pockets hold my phone, Airpods, and keys. The having a zipper down the front (instead of a pullover) means it’s easy to take on and off at the beginning and end of each workout.

Athleta joggers – I thought leggings were the Most Comfortable Clothing Ever – until I found these joggers! The pockets + the style give them an edge. LIVE in mine!

Mandarin Violet – Wearing this hand cream and body butter all the time! It’s also in the lip gloss vault. I really hope they continue the scent out of holiday and into the everyday lines! This tinted balm follows me around at all times (when there isn’t a Butterscotch Jellie in there!). The untinted version lives on my night stand and I put it on at bedtime each night. PS. Everything Beautycounter is 15% off with free shipping until Sunday!! 

Rothy’s – You’ve probably seen Rothy’s all over now. Perhaps you have a pair or two. I bought them early on and they’re the only shoes I’ve gotten compliments on in airports! I have the rounded toe in gray and the point in a bright blue. While I love all the details and patterns they have come out with, what I really want next are classic black in the rounded toe. I prefer the round to the point because I have wide feet. They can get a little stinky, but I came up with a good cleaning routine that I do twice a year or so. Get $20 off with my link!

Lou + Gray pants – The softest, coziest lounge pants ever made. I wear them first thing in the mornings (since I sleep in PJ shorts) and in the evenings after taking off my “daytime” clothes.

Allbirds Runners – I bought these on a whim and am SO GLAD I did. The reason I love them so much is because you truly don’t have to wear socks with them. They are as soft as socks and as comfortable as tennis shoes. I love that I don’t have to tie them each time I put them on either – just slip on over the bare foot and out the door. I haven’t washed mine yet, but I will probably need to soon, and I’m so glad that’s an option! Love that the company is a B corp!

Apple Watch – Honorable mention shout out to my watch because it’s literally a part of my body and I can’t imagine life without it. It keeps me efficient with my inbox (because I can archive on a whim), working out hard, organized with lists and reminders, and in touch via text.

Gifts For Kids

Fit Watch – Mazen loves his Garmin Vivofit watch. So much so that we’re getting him the Verizon Gizmo for Christmas. The Vivofit can track steps, chores, time, timers, date. He loves it. The Gizmo adds simple text and calls from a speed dial list. Now that he can read, I can’t wait to text him!

Baby Shark Book – Nona bought this book for Birch’s birthday and he LOVES it! If you have a baby in your life, this book is a fun gift. The songs might drive some parents crazy, but we all love singing them together. They’re super catchy. Naturally the Christmas themed track is the best 🙂

What are you shopping for today?

On my Black Friday / Cyber Monday watch list:

  • An Away Suitcase
  • A snowsuit for Birch
  • A family portrait canvas deal
  • Pants/joggers for Mazen
  • Men’s Lululemon deals for Thomas (shhhh!)

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Black Friday Deal Round Up – 2019

Annmarie Skincare 

Who they are: 
Organic, natural skincare products—perfect to nourish your dry winter skin or give as a stocking stuffer! 

What they’re offering: 
7-day sample kit for $10 (a $40 value)—plus FREE shipping! It includes Aloe Herb Cleanser, Kaolin Micro Exfoliant, Anti-Aging Serum, Anti-Aging Facial Oil, plus three more all natural skincare products. 

Click here to get your sample kit 

 

Beekeeper’s Naturals

Who they are:
Beekeeper’s Naturals offers the most sustainable, nourishing, and high quality wellness products for you and your family—obsessively tested and straight from the Beehive!

What they’re offering: 
Take 30% Off the entire site! No code needed. The Beekeeper team was super excited to tell me just one week before Black Friday that they’d decided to officially make this their BIGGEST sale of the year. 

Click here to stock your medicine cabinet with naturally clean & effective remedies  

 

Butcher Box: 

Who they are: 
ButcherBox is a meat subscription company that distributes high quality meat you can trust; 100% grass-fed and pasture raised beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild caught Alaskan salmon directly to your door.

What they’re offering: 
The Ultimate Steak Sampler!! Hook yourself up with 2 Ribeyes, 2 NY Strips, 2 Filet Mignons all FREE in your first box.

Just so you know, this is very time limited and will end when supplies run out! They told me that last year they ran out on Sunday so swoop yours before Cyber Monday hits. 

Click here to get your free meat 

 

Chilipad 

Who they are: 
You know how important sleep is. Especially during this busy, stressful, and maybe not quite as healthy time of year… Chilipad helps optimize your sleep. Chili actively manages the body’s temperature to deliver magical deep sleep from 55-110°F. 

What they’re offering: 
25% off of chiliPAD with code: Wolf25
20% off of OOLER with code: Wolf20

Click here to learn more and get your discount on better sleep 

 

Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy

Who they are: 
Sleep Remedy is a tried-and-true, all natural formula with life changing benefits that aims to give you the best sleep possible.

What they’re offering: 
Get a FREE month of Sleep Remedy! You can get your 30 days of free, restful sleep one of two ways:

  1. Purchase a three-month subscription bundle (can mix/match flavors capsules, 90-day delivery schedule). One box is free the first month.
  2. Or buy two single orders, and receive a physical gift card to start a subscription with the first month free. 

PLUS, every order receives a discount code for Swannies blue blockers. 

Click here to get your best sleep ever

 

Dry Farm Wines 

Who they are:
Holidays shouldn’t be a time for guilt or sacrifice. They’re a time for love and celebration! Alcohol can be a vibrant part of this celebration, but you have to drink the right stuff…

Dry Farm curates wines are sugar-free, organic, lower in alcohol, lower in sulfites, free of chemicals and additives, and sustainably grown. These are the perfect wines to enjoy over the holidays and to share with your family!

What they’re offering: 
Black Friday Box: Get a one-time Sampler Selection—one red, one white, one rosé, and one sparkling. This is the first time they’re ever offered a sampler box!

Click here to stock up on wine for the holidays

Cyber Monday: This isn’t live until Monday so mark your calendar! Get a one-time Member box (our usual red, white, or mixed selection) at Member pricing. 

Click here to get special wine member pricing 

 

Four Sigmatic

Who they are: 
A wellness company that wants to share the benefits of the most nutrient dense ingredients with the world. Their innovative recipes combine these truly super foods with daily staples like coffee, cacao, and skincare to help you fit elevated wellness in throughout the day.

What they’re offering: 
From Friday November 29th thru Monday December 2 Save up to 50% on your favorite Four Sigmatic products. PLUS save an additional 15% with code REBEL. 

Click here to shroom to health

 

Kettle & Fire: 

Who they are:
Kettle & Fire’s sippable bone broths and soups are made with 100% grass fed AND finished beef bones and organic pasture raised chicken bones. They are shelf stable so they ship easily (and FREE!). 

What they’re offering: 
Site wide sale, up to 30% off! Sale is live from 11/25-12/02 only

Click here to stock up on these tasty broths 

 

Paleovalley:

Who they are:
Paleovalley provides only the highest-quality, organic, whole-food based snacks and supplements. Each product is carefully crafted to prioritize nutrient density so that every dietary choice and every added ingredient is a powerful opportunity to love and care for oneself. 

What they’re offering: 
Get up to 25% OFF + Free Shipping + 2 Free Gifts* (*Free Gift Options: 1 Bottle of Turmeric, Essential C, or Apple Cider Vinegar Complex)
This deal begins 11/27/19 and ends 12/3/19 at midnight PST

Click here to get your Paleovalley deal now

 

Perfect Keto

Who they are:
Perfect Keto crafts the cleanest low-carb snacks and supplements + the best recipes and information, so you can keto with confidence.

What they’re offering: 
Black Friday Deal: Up to 55% off Perfect Keto! Build your own Perfect Keto Bundle for up to 55% off EVERYTHING in the Perfect Keto store. Mix and match to your heart’s content — the more you buy, the more you save.

  • 20% off one item
  • 30% off two
  • 40% off three
  • 50% off five
  • 55% off the bundle of the day
  •  
Click here to get your keto deals now 

 

Serenity Kids:

Who they are:
Super nutrient-dense baby food–Serenity Kids makes low sugar baby food using only ethically sourced meats, organic savory veggies, and healthy fats. 

What they’re offering: They are currently offering 30% off (up to six cases)! Valid from Friday, Nov 29 – Monday, Dec 2 

Just use my code ROBB30 at checkout. 

Click here to shop Serenity Kids deal 

 

Thrive Market 

Who they are:
Thrive Market is an online membership-based market on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone.

What they’re offering: 
From Friday to Sunday, Thrive Market is giving you 30% off of 2,000 products. 

Click here to shop Thrive now

 

zivaONLINE Meditation Course

Who they are:
This meditation course changed my life (and Nicki’s). During the course, you’ll learn how to practice The 3 M’s: Mindfulness, Meditation and Manifesting, plus the science and philosophy behind each. Once you learn The Ziva Technique, you’ll be a self-sufficient meditator with the ability to use these powerful tools on your own FOR LIFE; no apps, finger cymbals or drop-ins required!

What they’re offering:
15% off zivaONLINE with code Robb15 

Click here to learn more about zivaONLINE now 


If you’ve already experienced the gift that is Ziva, give the gift to someone else… simply
click here, hit enroll now, scroll to the bottom where it says “Buying as a gift? Click here to check out now” and you will see the gift order form.

 

Full transparency: I make a small commission if you purchase using a link or coupon code listed. But I only talk about and promote companies that I FULLY trust and back. I try everything, and we use it all at home! The products are well tested, well designed and made by great people. My hope is that I can help you navigate the overwhelming amount of things for sale on the interwebz. Don’t waste your precious time, energy, or sanity researching, finding the best deals, comparing and contrasting…we’ve done it for you. 



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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Per Primal tradition, the bees and I are off for the day.

I’ve said before that I consider Thanksgiving to be the most Primal of holidays. The elevated act of preparing and sharing a traditional meal is about as basic—and sacred—as human ceremony gets. It’s like gathering around a fire together. We bask in the comfort of ritual and cycle this time of year. We offer thanks for the year’s blessings.

Each year I say it, and each year I’m filled with the truth of it: I look to this community with heartfelt gratitude. Thank you for reading, for sharing, for contributing. Thank you for carrying the message of health and for supporting each other here.

Today I wish each of you the very best—of health and happiness. However you’re celebrating today, enjoy your holiday, everyone.

Primal_Fuel_640x80

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Thankful For My Boys

And I’m thankful for each and every one of you!!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings!

Photos by Danielle of Limefish Studio.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating today!!!

Clean Eating Thanksgiving

Mini Chef and I are taking the day off to cook all day, watch Christmas movies and pig out on good, healthy foods. We hope you are having a… Read more →



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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Special Deal: Macro Start-Up Bundle

I’ve never done a holiday sale like this before!

So, I thought I would this year since many of you have inquired about macros and how to get started. This bundle includes every nutrition resource you need, designed to support both macro newbies and veterans alike!

The Macro Start-Up Bundle includes 15 resources to help get you started with macros or, if you’ve tracked in the past, fresh new resources to motivate and support you all along the way. It’s perfect for individuals who prefer to learn on their own and might not be quite ready to commit to a 1:1 coaching relationship.

MACRO START-UP BUNDLE

INCLUDES:

  • How to Set Your Macros for Weight Loss (15 pages)
  • 40-30-30 Weight Loss Plan + Prep Guide
  • Women’s Hormone Balancing Plan + Prep Guide
  • Sugar Detox Plan + Prep Guide
  • High-Protein Dinners Ebook (42 recipes)
  • 5-Ingredient (or Less) High-Protein Snacks Ebook (20 recipes)
  • No Sugar Added Desserts Ebook (20 recipes)
  • When Macros Get Boozy Guide + Cheat Sheet
  • Set It & Forget It Instant Pot Meal Plan + Prep Guide
  • Macro Tracking Without the Hassle Guide

Normally, these resources together would cost $180, but from now until Tuesday, December 3rd, they’re $100 off!

Grab the bundle here, and you’ll have everything you need to get started counting macros on your own now or in the new year. You’ll get access to your materials right away, so you’re ready to roll whenever you wan to start.

This will be the only time to get this exclusive package of my best products and all at an amazing deal.

At more than 50% off, I’ve never made learning about macros so affordable! Quantities are limited so make sure to grab your spot today and SAVE BIG!

If you have questions, just leave a comment below!

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Late To the Healthy Living Game? 10 Essential Tips Making the Transition to Better Health

Many people get to age 60 or so and, if they haven’t lived a healthy, active life up to that point, assume it’s too late for them. After all, things only get harder the older you get. You’ve got aches and pains. Your doc is always reminding you about your weight. Things creak and crack. You look wistfully at the gym you pass by every day, thinking to yourself, “It would never work.”

At least, that’s how most people deal with getting old: they lament their “inability” to do anything about it as oblivion approaches and overtakes them.

Forget all that. While you can’t turn back the chronological clock, you can “de-age” yourself by engaging in the right diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications. So—how?

Realize That It’s Never Too Late

The scientific literature is rife with examples of older individuals making changes to their lifestyle, diet, and exercise and seeing great results.

How about 68-year-olds still getting gains from strength training?

Older women switching to high-fatty-meat or high-cheese diets and enjoying better heart health.

Verifiable examples (or “anecdotes”) from people online are also available. Like PD Mangan, who went from this to this. That’s not impossible, or even difficult to achieve. What you need is the will and means and know-how—all freely available.

Know that it’s possible. Know that it’s probable. Know that your efforts will not be in vain.

Realize That It’s Your Fault—And Even If It’s Not, It’s Your Responsibility

I don’t care where you fall on the belief spectrum. It could be that “your body is a temple ordained by God and you’d be remiss to let it fall to ruin and in doing so fail your creator.” It could be that “your body was the work of hundreds of generations of ancestors who fought and suffered and scrounged and died to ensure you’d make it and to fail to maintain your health is a huge insult to their sacrifices.” It could be that “your body is the product of millions and billions of years of evolution through natural selection, a chance byproduct of a process that probability says shouldn’t have even happened, and you’re going to waste it?”

However you approach it, what matters is that you have a remarkable body (and mind) that deserves your attention, care, maintenance and nourishment. Only you can do anything about it. Maybe you were fed bad food as a kid and bad info as an adult (this is most people). Doesn’t matter. You still have to own it and take the steps necessary to improve your condition. Responsibility means ability to respond. Claim it.

Eat More Protein

If you’re over 50, you need more protein than you think.

If you’re over 50, your ability to utilize protein isn’t as good as it used to be.

If you’re over 50, you need more protein to do the same job as a person 25 years younger.

If you’re over 65, the supposed negative relationship between meat and mortality the “experts” are always crowing about reverses, magically becoming a positive relationship.

And if one of your issues is trouble losing body fat, more protein will also help you beat back exaggerated hunger and keep food intake low enough to lose weight. Many people in the ancestral community don’t like acknowledging this, but it’s true for a great many people: protein is the most satiating macronutrient.

Moreover, protein will help you lose body fat and retain (and even gain) the all-important lean muscle mass. Losing muscle when you’re over 50 is harder and harder to recover from.

The only catch is that if one of your “aging-related maladies” is kidney failure, you may have to slow things down and keep your protein intake low to moderate. Emphasis on “may.” Check with your doctor if that’s the case.

Get As Insulin Sensitive As You Can

The relationship between insulin signaling and aging is a bit unclear. What we know is that people with higher insulin sensitivity live longer and healthier lives. We know that insulin resistance is strongly linked to most degenerative diseases, like cancer, diabetes, sarcopenia, and osteoporosis (to name only a few). But researchers are always oscillating between “cause” and “effect.” Is insulin resistance a cause or a sign of aging? Are insulin sensitive people healthier into old age because they’re insulin sensitive, or are they insulin sensitive because they’re healthier?

I’m not sure it really matters. Either way, to become more insulin sensitive you have to do a bunch of things that will also make you healthier and age better like lifting weights, quitting overeating, taking more walks, doing more low level aerobic work, and regulating your carb intake.

I’ve always said that you should burn as little glucose as possible. The more you can rely on stored body fat for energy and daily maintenance, the better. Well, the more insulin sensitive you are, the less insulin you’ll have blunting your ability to liberate stored body fat, the more fat you’ll burn and the better you’ll age.

Walk Every Day

One of my favorite predictors of mortality in older people is walking speed: they ask people to walk at their normal speed and then track how fast they go. The slower the walk, the higher their risk of dying earlier. It’s my favorite because it’s so elegant. And no, actively forcing yourself to walk more briskly when you get tested won’t increase your longevity. But if you get up and walk every single day, walking will be second nature. Your walking speed will increase naturally, and it’s the natural increase in walking speed that presages a longer, healthier life.

Walking will also force you to get out and see and experience the world. It’ll lower your fasting blood glucose and postprandial blood glucose (hint: walk after meals). It will introduce novelty to your life and in doing so extend your time horizon.

Eat Tons Of Collagen

Collagen improves skin health, elasticity, and reduces wrinkling. This might sound superficial, but altering those “surface level” signs of aging indicates that you’re also modifying the internal aging markers.

Another reason to up your collagen intake is to balance out the meat you’re eating. As an older person, you’ll need to eat more meat to counter your suboptimal protein utilization. That means you need to process more methionine, which requires more glycine, which comes from collagen.

The easiest way to get collagen and hit a few birds with one stone is to eat lots of collagenous meats—shanks, skin, knuckles, oxtails, ears, snouts, feet, tendons. That way you get your muscle meat protein and collagen protein. Collagen protein powder is another option.

Lift Heavy Things To Build Your Musculoskeletal System

Exercise isn’t just good for your muscles and your heart. It’s also the only reliable way to build and maintain bone mineral density. But in order for exercise to improve bone mineral density, it must satisfy several requirements. It should be dynamic, not static. It needs to challenge you. It needs to challenge your muscles. In other words, you need to lift (relatively) heavy things. You need to progress in weight, intensity, and duration. It should be “relatively brief but intermittent.” No long drawn-out sessions that do nothing but overwork and overtrain you. Keep it short and intense. Also, the exercise should place an unusual loading pattern on the bones. That could be different movements, or increased resistance, as long as you’re introducing something “new” to the body; don’t just do the same old weights forever. Finally, for exercise to improve bone mineral density it must be supported by sufficient nutrition, especially calcium, vitamin D, sufficient protein, and vitamin K2.

Develop Your Balance Yesterday

The number one cause of death and degeneration after age 70 is falling and breaking something. You step out of the shower, slip, and break a hip, then never recover. You step off a curb and fall on your knee, breaking your femur, and never recover. Avoid this at all costs. Improve your balance as soon as possible.

Get a slackline: Keep it low to the ground, have a partner to help, or use something like a walking stick to support you. Focus on simply balancing rather than trying to walk.

Try standup paddling: Not only is it a great workout and a great time, paddling forces you to balance—constantly. And as long as you can swim, falling is totally safe.

Walk on uneven surfaces (carefully): Go for hikes, walk in the sand or in the grass, walk along cobblestone streets, walk on slopes.

Walk along curbs (very carefully).

Wear footwear that is as minimalist as you can handle (or just go barefoot if you’re up for it): The bottom of the foot is loaded with nerve endings that inform you and guide your balance as you make your way through the world. They help you subconsciously make those micro-adjustments to your posture and body position that make up “good balance.” A big clunky rubber sole blocks that out and cuts you off from your body.

Play Every Day

They say that when you stop moving, you start dying. I say when you stop playing, you start dying. We see this in dogs; once a dog no longer wants to play, chase the ball, roughhouse, or do the things he or she used to love doing, they’re on the way out. I firmly believe the same is true for people—just spread out across a longer timeline.

So have fun. Play sports. Try Ultimate Frisbee (my favorite).

Don’t forget about the mental games. Game nights. Crosswords in the morning (that’s what I do). Play cards. Do a weekly poker night with friends and make it a potluck.

What I’m not saying is that doing the crossword will stave off Alzheimer’s or make you smarter. What it will do is send the message to your brain and body that “this person hasn’t given up.” Ideally, your physical play will train your muscles, bones, and balance—that way you can satisfy all those requirements and have fun doing it.

Don’t Do It Alone

If you’re an older person reading this and actually preparing to make the changes necessary to be healthy and vigorous, you are a rare bird. Most of your peers have given up. Most have resigned themselves to being less healthy and less vigorous with every passing day. Don’t let that happen. Enlist a friend, a loved one, a peer. Not only will it give you another person to play, train, and walk with, but it will help you stay the course and enjoy doing it. It will also save another person—or at least give them the best chance they’ve got.

Those are the big tips. There are others, though. And for anyone interested in better health and longevity and more life in the years you have, Keto for Life, offers more information than I could fit here. All the points I covered today and many more are fleshed out and expanded upon twenty-fold.

But if you just focused on these 10 tips, you’d be pretty far along on your way to health (no matter what age you are).

That’s it for today, folks. Take care, drop your own tips down below, and have a great Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

6 Mind-Body Approaches for Menopause

As we covered in Parts I and II of this series, during perimenopause and menopause women can experience a complex web of physical, psychological, and social symptoms.

The treatment usually prescribed by doctors, hormone therapy (HT), is controversial and not appropriate for some women. I won’t get into the HT debate here—Mark did a great job covering the pros and cons recently. Suffice it to say that HT isn’t the answer for everyone, and it’s not a panacea by any means.

Whether or not they choose to go the HT route, many women desire additional support during perimenopause and beyond. For the sake of keeping this post from becoming a novella, I’m going to focus on mind-body therapies today.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of nonhormonal options, nor is it meant to try to dissuade you from trying HT. That’s a decision you have to make for yourself with your doctor. The approaches below can be used alone or in combination with other modalities, including HT.

As with any medical-adjacent tools, if you are considering any of the options here, take the time to educate yourself, talk to your doctor, and find qualified practitioners to help you implement these practices.

A Note Regarding Research Evidence…

Because so many women are interested in complementary or alternative approaches, there’s a fair amount of research into nonhormonal treatments. There are also important limitations.

A lot of the randomized control trials—experiments that are best for establishing causal effects—are small. There is considerable variability in research design, so it’s difficult to generalize across studies.

Participants in these studies tend to be white and well-educated. Since there are cross-cultural differences in the experience of menopause, we shouldn’t assume that the findings apply to all women. Likewise, a lot of the research focuses on women with a history of breast cancer because HT is generally contraindicated in this population. While the results of these studies probably generalize to other women, it would be great to have more data.

Finally, vasomotor symptoms—hot flushes and night sweats—are studied more than other types of symptoms. Though they are the most common complaint, many women do not experience debilitating vasomotor symptoms. They might, however, experience mood fluctuations, depression, sexual issues, memory problems, and more. We know less about how these approaches might help those women.

Nevertheless, I’ll highlight some of the potentially fruitful avenues you might explore. When possible, I’ll focus on systematic reviews and meta-analyses. They pool the results of multiple smaller studies to help a more reliable picture emerge.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

In CBT, individuals are encouraged to explore how their thoughts (cognitions) affect feelings, behaviors, and physical symptoms. With help, they change their thoughts or beliefs about a situation to help manage their responses and improve coping skills.

Although there isn’t a ton of research on CBT for menopause, available studies are very promising. Whether or not CBT reduces the actual number of hot flushes—and the data here are mixed—CBT should work by changing women’s perceptions of their hot flushes. Multiple studies do find that after CBT women view their hot flushes as interfering less with daily life. As expected, they are also less bothered by them.

Women who see themselves as having less control over their hot flushes also tend to experience more distress. Changing their perceived control could be an effective intervention for improving quality of life. Indeed, in one study, 95 women received either group-based or self-help CBT. After therapy they reported feeling greater control over hot flushes and having better coping skills compared to women in a no-CBT control condition. Further analyses showed that women’s beliefs about control and coping predicted how problematic they found their hot flushes to be. (Having more positive beliefs about how hot flushes affect sleep also helped.)

Women who participated in CBT also experienced fewer sleep issues and insomnia as well as fewer depressive symptoms and sexual concerns.  They also noticed less impairment at work. Positive results were found with in-person therapy, self-help programs, and telephone-based therapy. When studies included a follow-up assessment, the beneficial effects of CBT persisted for at least six months.

Mindfulness, Meditation and Relaxation Training

A cross-sectional study of 1744 women found that women with higher scores on a mindfulness assessment tended to report less severe menopausal symptoms. For women with higher life stress, this association was especially strong. The idea here is that when women are able to be present-focused and observe their symptoms without judgment, they are protected against some of the distress, and possibly the physical symptoms, associated with menopause.

Although some of the women in that survey are probably mindful by nature—lucky them—mindfulness is also a skill that can be learned and cultivated. Among the many reasons to do so, mindfulness and meditation training can apparently lessen menopausal symptoms.

For example, researchers assigned 110 women to either an intensive eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program or a control group. The women who received mindfulness training reported having less bothersome hot flushes, better sleep quality, less anxiety and stress, and greater overall quality of life compared to the control group. When the researchers followed participants over the next 11 weeks, these results persisted or became even stronger.

A few other studies found that women who receive mindfulness or meditation training report fewer and less bothersome hot flushes, improved sleep, and better psychological functioning, though the results have not consistently endured over time. However, when looking at more general relaxation training and paced breathing techniques, effects are minimal, at least for hot flushes.

Yoga

An ethnographic study of nine female yogi masters concluded that they tend to skate fairly easily through menopause. The authors concluded that menopausal women should be encouraged to practice yoga. Of course, in addition to yoga, these yogi masters’ lifestyles included “healthy food habits, adequate sleep, and the use of nature cure techniques (i.e., fasting, detoxification, selection of suitable food products, and living in well-ventilated houses) that facilitated the art of living in tune with nature.” This sounds pretty great, but can we give really yoga all the credit here?

Probably not. However, two recent meta-analyses did conclude that yoga offers small but significant relief from symptoms of all types: vasomotor, psychological (including depression), somatic (including fatigue and sleep disturbances), and urogenital. Women also report better overall well-being and quality of life after receiving yoga training.

In one study, a group of breast cancer survivors received twelve weeks of yoga and meditation instruction, and they were encouraged to practice daily at home. Compared to women in a control group (no instruction), they reported fewer symptoms and improved quality of life at the end of the twelve weeks and again when asked three months later. A later analysis found that many of the effects were mediated by improved self-esteem in the yoga group.

Note that most of the individual studies are small, and they employ different types of yoga practices. This might be considered a strength insofar as different practices have been shown to work, or a weakness in that it’s not clear if one approach is particularly effective.

Exercise

Cross-cultural surveys find that women who are more active tend to have an easier time with menopause. For example, two large surveys of Swedish women found that women who exercised at least once per week reported less intrusive symptoms than women who never exercised, and women who exercised more than three hours per week were significantly less likely to experience severe symptoms than their less active counterparts. Sedentary women in this Finnish study experienced more vasomotor, psychological, and somatic/pain symptoms than women who were at least somewhat active.

While promising, experimental studies have not yielded such favorable results. When women were assigned to “physical activity” conditions (often walking), some studies report improvements, but others find no improvements or even worsening symptoms (perhaps depending on women’s baseline fitness). Multiple reviews have concluded that there is no systematic effect of exercise, particularly not for vasomotor symptoms.

Does that mean menopausal women shouldn’t exercise? Obviously no. It’s clear that being active—or at least not being sedentary—is important for overall health, and it probably helps menopausal women through the transition. However, there isn’t enough research to know what types of exercise are most effective and when. Do the types of movement you enjoy and that make your body feel good.

Acupuncture

A recent review concluded that acupuncture is effective for reducing vasomotor symptoms, both frequency and severity, as well as for improving quality of life. However, the reviewers also found that acupuncture was not reliably better than sham acupuncture where needles are inserted at points other than the prescribed pressure points and at a shallower depth—a placebo condition.

Hypnosis

A handful of studies have shown that clinical hypnosis can reduce hot flush frequency and distress among breast cancer patients. Another study of 187 women without breast cancer found that women who received hypnotherapy had fewer, less severe, and less bothersome hot flashes, as well as improved sleep. These results were evident at the end of the five-week treatment protocol, and they remained or got stronger in the six-week follow-up period.

The Experts Weigh In…

In 2015, the North American Menopause Society released a position statement on nonhormonal management of vasomotor symptoms. Of the approaches discussed here, the only ones NAMS recommended based on the strength of the available evidence were CBT and hypnosis. Mindfulness-based stress reduction earned a “recommend with caution,” which means, “We think it might work, but the evidence isn’t conclusive.”

The others—yoga, exercise, relaxation and paced breathing techniques, and acupuncture—were not recommended. This does not mean they are not worth trying! It simply means that based on their standards, the evidence was not strong enough for the committee to conclude that they are likely to be effective treatments for vasomotor symptoms specifically. This says nothing about other types of symptoms, nor about general well-being or quality of life.

Mind-Body Therapy Pros and Cons

So where does this leave us? Each of these therapies shows promise for alleviating at least some symptoms of menopause. Moreover, all these therapies have the potential to improve overall quality of life, sleep, stress, and general health. While reading these studies, I did wonder whether some of the women felt better simply because they were investing time and energy in taking care of themselves. If so, is that a problem? I don’t think so. They are low-risk interventions with a lot of potential upside.

That said, these aren’t quick solutions. The effective mindfulness/mediation trainings included six to eight weeks of classes and multiple hours per week. Women practiced yoga for two to four months during the study periods. Hypnotherapy was five weeks or longer. It’s not clear what the minimum time frame is for each of these therapies to be useful, but they’ll certainly involve a time commitment that might not be practical for all women. However, yoga, mindfulness/meditation, exercise, and even CBT can all be practiced at home once you know the proper technique.

As I said at the beginning, this is not an exhaustive list of nonhormonal therapies. There are also various supplements that might help, as well as lifestyle modifications that most of you Primal-savvy readers are probably already implementing: eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, getting plenty of sunlight, practicing good sleep hygiene, and nurturing social connections.

Whatever you choose, be patient. Don’t just focus on one symptom; focus on the big picture. Pay attention to how you’re feeling more globally. Consider that while an intervention might not hit its desired mark, it might help you in ways you didn’t expect.

Have you used mind-body techniques (these or others)? What’s been your experience? Share your insights and questions below, and have a great week, everyone.

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References:

Atapattu PM. Vasomotor symptoms: What is the impact of physical exercise? J SAFOMS. 2105 Jan-Jun;3(1):15-19.

Goldstein KM, et al. Use of mindfulness, meditation and relaxation to treat vasomotor symptoms. Climacteric. 2017 Apr;20(2):178-182.

McMillan TL, Mark S. Complementary and alternative medicine and physical activity for menopausal symptoms. J Am Med Womens Assoc (1972). 2004 Fall;59(4):270-7.

Molefi-Youri W. Is there a role for mindfulness-based interventions (here defined as MBCT and MBSR) in facilitating optimal psychological adjustment in the menopause? Post Reprod Health. 2019 Sep;25(3):143-149

Moore TR, Franks RB, Fox C. Review of Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments for Menopausal Symptoms. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2017 May;62(3):286-297.

Sliwinski JR, Johnson AK, Elkins GR. Memory Decline in Peri- and Post-menopausal Women: The Potential of Mind-Body Medicine to Improve Cognitive Performance. Integr Med Insights. 2014;9:17–23.

van Driel CM, Stuursma A, Schroevers MJ, Mourits MJ, de Bock GH. Mindfulness, cognitive behavioural and behaviour-based therapy for natural and treatment-induced menopausal symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BJOG. 2019;126(3):330–339.

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